Duo Pianos: Jean-Michel Pilc and Kenny Werner John Daversa Small Band Groove: Blue George Brooks' ASPADA New Nordic Trio Brian Bromberg Steve Smith John Daversa Lenny White Jean-Michel Pilc Solo Piano, Duo, Trio Gerry Obeirne Steve Smith and Vital Information NYC Edition Leni Stern Dave Weckl Chris Minh Doky's Nomads Steve Gadd Band Mike Stern


Music is power - power to inspire - power to transform. George Brooks – saxophone, Kai Eckhardt – bass, Osam Ezzeldin – keyboards, Selvaganesh Vinayakram - percussion

Drawing on the musical traditions of their homelands in India, Africa, Europe and America, four world-renowned musicians weave a global tapestry for the new millennium. S. Indian virtuoso percussionist, Selvaganesh and global bass master, Kai Eckhardt, create a rhythmic foundation supporting the creative vision of these world-jazz veterans. ASPADA provides a rare opportunity to observe musicians from diverse musical backgrounds conversing in a new musical language.

“Exotically lyrical…gracefully bridges seemingly antithetical disciplines.”
- Billboard Magazine Critics Choice

“Bristling with East meets West polytonality and rhythmic intrigue and tinged with a Trane-like spirituality . . . (Brooks) succeeds to a startling and almost rapturous degree.”
- San Francisco Bay Guardian

George Brooks

Saxophonist and composer George Brooks is acclaimed for successfully bridging the worlds of jazz and Indian classical music. He founded the seminal Indian fusion groups Summit with Zakir Hussain, Bombay Jazz with Ronu Majumdar and Larry Coryell, the Raga Bop Trio with Steve Smith and Prasanna and Elements with Gwyneth Wentink and Kala Ramnath. Brooks has collaborated extensively with American composer Terry Riley and has performed and recorded with genre defining artists Etta James, Anthony Braxton, Jaki Byard, Talvin Singh, poet Michael McClure, and Ray Manzarek (of the Doors). He has performed throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and the UK and was a featured soloist on John McLaughlin’s Grammy nominated “Floating Point” CD

Brooks studied with Count Basie saxophonist, Frank Foster and at the New England Conservatory of Music with George Russell, Joe Allard and Jaki Byard. He traveled to India for a year of study with classical Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. In 1996 he recorded “Lasting Impression” and “Night Spinner,” for Zakir Hussain’s Moment Records. The success of these CDs led to performances and recordings with India’s leading artists; Hariprasad Chaurasia, Sultan Khan, VM Bhatt, U Srinivas, Vikku Vinayakram, Trilok Gurtu, Shujaat Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and many others.

Brooks is a recipient of the American Composer’s Forum “Global Harmony" Prize and has received grants and commissions from SFMOMA, New Music USA, USArtists International, MetLife Creative Connections and San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. His compositions have appeared in films by Merchant/Ivory and have been performed by Yo Yo Ma and members of the Liverpool Philharmonic. His solo harp composition ‘The Alchemy of Happiness” premiered at the 2012 Gaudeamus Muziekweek.

Kai Eckhardt

Raised in Germany and Liberia, Kai Eckhardt came to the USA in 1980 to study at the Berklee College of Music. Upon graduating, Kai garnered world-wide recognition performing with the John McLaughlin Trio. The trio, consisting of Kai, John and Indian percussion phenomenon, Trilok Gurtu, recorded "Live at the Royal Festival Hall" which still stands as a high watermark in global fusion.
While touring the world with McLaughlin's trio and later with Trilok Gurtu's outstanding ensembles, Kai developed a remarkable facility with African and Indian rhythmic cycles. He combined these global rhythms with his love of funk and developed a unique slapping style simultaneously reminiscent of African kora and James Brown.

After many years of touring Kai settled in California and distinguished himself as a band-leader and composer founding the successful "jam band" Garaj Mahal and his current group, Zeitgeist. He is an in demand performer and session musiciansand maintains an active teaching schedule, offering workshops in the US, Europe and on line. Kai and George Brooks are long time partners and have performed together in the US, Europe and Asia with Summit, Zakir Hussain, Ray Manzarek and Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead). Kai has recorded and performed with such distinguished artists as Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Wayne Shorter, Patrice Rushen, Dewey Redman, Donald Byrd, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Larry Coryell, Warren Hill, Al Di Meola, Vital Information, John Scofield and Bill Frisell.

Selvaganesh Vinayakram

Selvagensh was born in Chennai to Grammy-winner T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram, a legendary musician and founding member of Shakti. He is known to audiences around the world as the astonishing kanjeera player in John McLaughlin’s “Remember Shakti”. The kanjeera, appears to be a simple instrument yet in his hands it produces a surprisingly large palette, similar to a full drum-kit. For his work with “ASPADA” Selva has created a hybrid drum kit incorporating traditional Indian percussion with cymbals and kick drum.

Selvaganesh garnered international attention in the early 1990s performing with Zakir Hussain’s “Masters of Percussion”. In the late 90s he joined John McLaughlin’s Remember Shakti as a permanent member, securing his place in the pantheon of genre defining percussionists. Selva has also composed and produced albums for the Swedish bass virtuoso Jonas Hellborg and American guitar player Shawn Lane.

Selva is recognized as a world music innovator and a stalwart of traditional Indian music. He has performed with Dr. L. Shankar, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shivkumar Sharm, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and many others. Selvaganesh also maintains an active role composing for the Indian film industry.


Osam Ezzeldin

Osam Ezzeldin was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up immersed in the music of North Africa. At the age of 18 he heard his first recording of jazz and his life immediately transformed. Osam embarked on a journey of self-directed jazz study and began a rapid rise to excellence, soon becoming indispensible to leading jazz musicians of North Africa.

Osam's love of jazz brought him to the US at the age of 21. He moved to Texas where he earned a BS in computer science. His prodigious abilities at the keyboard soon brought him to the attention of the local musicians and he became immersed in the professional world of Texas jazz, blues and R+B. Osam continued to hone his skill as a composer and performer and at the age of 29 was offered a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music receiving the highest honors.

In 2006 Osam was awarded US citizenship as an artist of extraordinary ability. In 2011 Osam moved to San Francisco and began turning heads. He soon joined Kai Eckhardt's Zeitgeist and George Brooks' Summit and has performed at all the major festivals and jazz clubs in northern California.

Osam's unique ability to blend contemporary jazz vocabulary with Arabic, Indian and Caribbean influences has led to performances with many luminaries of world music including Indian maestros Zakir Hussain, Niladri Kumar and Kala Ramnath and Turkish multi-instrumentalist Orhan Osman and the Turkophony Allstars, Uzbek percussionist Abbos Kasimov, as well as jazz stars Giovanni Hidalgo, Billy Cobham, Chuck Rainey, Kai Eckhardt and Dave Weckl.
 
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